In the Matter of Stephan L. Rosenbaum, an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Stephan L. Rosenbaum, Respondent.
proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee
for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Stephan L.
Rosenbaum, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York
at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for
the Second Judicial Department on February 25, 1972.
Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New
York (Naomi F. Goldstein, of counsel), for petitioner.
Respondent pro se.
W. Sweeny, Jr., Justice Presiding, Richard T. Andrias, Sallie
Manzanet-Daniels, Judith J. Gische, Troy K. Webber, Justices.
Stephan L. Rosenbaum was admitted to the practice of law in
the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on
February 25, 1972 . At all times relevant to this
proceeding, respondent maintained an office for the practice
of law within the First Judicial Department.
Attorney Grievance Committee seeks an order, pursuant to
Judiciary Law §§ 90(2) and 486, immediately
disbarring respondent, without further proceedings, for
willfully engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in
violation of this Court's November 20, 2013 suspension
order. In the alternative, it seeks to continue his
suspension from the practice of law, pursuant to the Rules
for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) §
1240.9(a), pending a hearing before a referee, and until
further order of this Court, on the basis that his
professional misconduct immediately threatens the public
interest, relying on his admission under oath that he, inter
alia, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and he
failed to pay a money judgment his client obtained against
him. Respondent requests that this Court not disbar him, but
allow him to resume the practice of law after a reasonable
period of suspension.
reasons set forth below, we now grant the Committee's
motion to the extent of continuing respondent's
suspension from the practice of law, pursuant to 22 NYCRR
1240.9(a)(2), until such time as the disciplinary matters
before the Committee have been concluded, and until further
order of this Court.
on June 26, 2013, and continuing for five consecutive days,
notice was served by publication in the New York Law Journal
that the Office of Court Administration had forwarded to the
Attorney Grievance Committee a list of all attorneys who were
delinquent in complying with their registration obligations
under Judiciary Law § 468-a, and that if they did not
cure said delinquency by July 24, 2013, they would be named
as respondents in a mass suspension proceeding.
Respondent's name appeared on that list, having been
delinquent since the 2006-2007 biennial period.
September 26, 2013, notice of the Attorney Grievance
Committee's mass motion to suspend was served via
publication in the New York Law Journal for five days, and
was posted on this Court's website.
November 20, 2013 this Court suspended respondent from the
practice of law, stating that respondent was "commanded
to refrain and desist from the practice of law in any form,
either as principal or agent, clerk or employee of another,
and is forbidden to appear as an attorney and
counselor-at-law before any court, judge, justice, ...and is
forbidden to give to another an opinion as to the law or its
application, or any advice in relation thereto, effective
November 20, 2013 and until the further order of this
order also directed compliance with former Court Rule (22
NYCRR) 603.13(a), which specifically references, inter alia,
Judiciary Law §§ 478 and 486, which provides that
any attorney who has been suspended and who engages in the
unauthorized practice of law is guilty of a misdemeanor. The
order was posted on both the New York Law Journal's
website and this Court's website.
October 2015, the Committee received a complaint from one of
respondent's clients in which she alleged that respondent
failed to fully repay a $120, 000 loan she made to him, which
debt has been reduced to judgment. As part of the loan
arrangement, respondent executed a $120, 000 promissory note
which called for him to repay the principal by no later than
July 13, 2015, and in lieu of interest, respondent would not
charge his client for his legal services until the principal
balance had been paid in full. The record includes detailed
invoices showing respondent continued to do legal work for
his client through December 2015, pursuant to the loan
arrangement. Respondent did not repay the loan when it came
due, subsequently making only a partial $20, 000 payment. The
client, after hiring a new attorney, brought an action, and
in 2016 obtained a default judgment against respondent in the
amount of $109, 465, which judgment remains unpaid.
appeared at a deposition in connection with the October 2015
complaint. He claimed that he only learned of his suspension
after a colleague alerted him a few months prior to his
August 2016 deposition. He also testified that he was aware
of his obligation to register with the Office of Court
Administration and pay the required fees, but had not done so
since 2006 due to "neglect." Respondent also
admitted to practicing law "a little" after he
learned of his suspension.
his testimony, respondent also testified to the circumstances
of obtaining a $120, 000 loan from his 92-year-old client. He
admitted that he performed legal services for that client.
Respondent stated further that after the revenue with which
he anticipated to repay the loan had not materialized, he was
too embarrassed to make small payments to his client, and it
became clear to him that the only way to repay the loan was
to take out a mortgage against his home. Although respondent
represented in prior correspondence to the Grievance
Committee that he had completed the necessary steps to
receive the mortgage, at his deposition he admitted he had
not yet ...